From Publishers Weekly
The Zielinskis, the dysfunctional family of Riggle's delightful debut, have some problems, even if things at Mirabelle and Max's 35th anniversary party—thrown by their three adult children—at first seem peachy. Soon, though, the cracks appear: daughter Katya's stuck in a loveless marriage and saddled with three bratty kids. Son Ivan's a struggling songwriter who falls for all the wrong girls, and the youngest daughter, Irina, is a free-spirited 21-year-old, knocked up by a man twice her age. There's just no more room in their lives for another problem, but Mirabelle has a secret—she's dying of breast cancer. With ease and grace, Riggle walks the fine line between sentimentality and comedy, and she has a sure hand in creating fun, quirky characters. Humorous and humane storytelling makes this much better than the standard cancer tear-jerker. (June)
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Mirabelle and Max Zielinski’s children have returned home for their parents’ thirtieth anniversary. Mirabelle must tell them that she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, but they’re preoccupied with their own crises. Katya, the eldest, hides behind a perfectly controlled front, but her marriage and affluent lifestyle are in jeopardy. Ivan, the moody middle child, keeps pursuing the wrong women and can’t get his songwriting career off the ground. The youngest, Irina, shows up with a surprise husband and pregnancy. Faced with her mortality, Mirabelle is stricken by how her children have diverged from her hippie upbringing and wonders if they still need her. Riggle crafts a moving and accomplished first novel about a family coming to terms with change. The characters are familiar but not stereotypical, and the quaint setting of Charlevoix, Michigan, a beachfront town, adds to the nostalgic feel. --Aleksandra Walker